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Friday, February 13, 2015

Bolt Action - AAR: Australians vs Germans in Point Defence

Recently I played a game of Point Defence with my own Nemesis J that is worthy of an After Action Report (AAR) if for nothing else than highlighting just how badly I can roll moral checks. Before we get to that though let’s talk about the 1000 point lists.

The scene is set.

My List
Special Rule – Rapid Fire (For every three rifles firing add an extra rifle shot)
2nd Lt + 2 men - Regular
10 man Regular squad with LMG, SMG and 8 Rifles x 4
7 man Veteran Squad with 3 SMG’s and 4 Rifles
ATR - Regular
Medium Mortar - Regular
Medic - Regular
Sniper - Regular
Artillery Observer – Regular
Bofors AA Gun – Regular
Stuart Light Tank – Regular 
A mixture of Artizan, Wartime Miniatures, TAG, Warlord and Blitzkrieg Miniatures.

Nemesis J
2nd LT + 2 men
8 man Regular squad with LMG, SMG and 6 Rifles x 5
Artillery Observer – Regular
MMG Team – Regular
ATR - Regular
Kublewagon with MMG – Regular
BMW Bike with MMG – Regular (222 used as a proxy)
Panzer III - Regular

The Germans, made up of Crusader, Warlord and JTFM.

We randomly rolled Point Defence and I chose to defend (that was silly) after winning the roll-off. The defender has to place at least half his forces on the table edge in their deployment zone while three objective markers are placed in the defenders deployment zone as well being at least 24 inches apart from each other. Having 13 Order Dice I had to place 7 units on the table, being my Bofors, Mortar, Sniper, Medic, Artillery Obs and two infantry squads in a position to defend the objectives.

Turn 1
The remaining units are kept in reserve and can’t come on until turn two. The attacker is not on the table initially and at least half his units must form a first wave. Prior to coming on however the attacker gets to roll a preparatory bombardment targeting all the defenders units currently on the table. On a 1 it does not come in, however as a testament to how the game was going to progress it came in and managed to put two pins on every one of my units and also inflicted two casualties.
Normally it is not that much of an issue as the attacker is all the way across the table and this generally gives the defender time to issue some orders and shed some pins. As turn one progressed however it became apparent that I had upset the dice gods and each time I pulled an Order Dice I inevitably failed the moral check.  This would occur in 5 out of 7 attempts. This was compounded as Nemesis J brought his fast movers up and put even more pins on the Bofors, leaving it with four by the end of turn one. My Artillery Observer was able to act though and placed the marker around a concentration of German units.

The Australian middle objective (the 88), as you can see each unit has two pins.

Turn 2
The Australian artillery strike came in and I rolled a one on the 6”+d6 range modifier and only managed to hit three units.  Putting two pins on two units and a single pin on another. This would be one of the highlights of the game for me as the Panzer III would not play much of a part in the remainder of the game as it constantly failed its moral checks. Getting an early run on dice the Germans again targeted the Bofors and put another two pins on it and killed 2 of the 4 crew, rendering it useless without ever activating thus putting a big dent in my ability to project firepower.
The Germans continued to advance towards the objectives while I was able to bring on the three reserve infantry units to cover an objective each but my Stuart tank was too busy fixing a broken thingamajig down the road to join the battle (1st failed order to test to come on). My sniper did manage to put a pin on the German Arty Observer which resulted in a failed order test, which in my opinion paid for the sniper right there.

An Australian squad advances up the right flank.

Turn 3
The Germans finished off the Bofors early on,  having never fired a single round (well done Nemesis J!) and continued to advance up the table. German squads advanced on both the right and left flanks while the Panzer III failed another order test and by this time was backed up to the table edge. My centre was feeling very vulnerable as the sniper was taken out and the remaining units looked suspiciously towards the German Artillery Observer (they were a nice grouping of units). To avoid this I sent an Infantry squad to support the right flank away from the centre and in doing so made the biggest mistake of the game which would come to light in turn 4.

Aerial view of the right flank, Australians look to have the advantage in infantry.

I was able to completely destroy two German squads this turn through an aggressive assault on the right flank and very good shooting on the left. Moving a squad up to within point blank the squad killed four Germans and they subsequently failed their moral test. The Rapid Fire special rule was really coming into its own now with 2 extra shots per shooting turn per squad. The Australian Lt started screaming into the radio to find out where the armoured support was to support the centre but was told that although the thingamajig had been fixed, they had a leak in the doobywhatsit and would be delayed (2nd failed order test to come on). The German Artillery Observer then got off his orders and targeted the right flank where three almost untouched infantry squads were located but Nemesis J would have to roll really well to capture them all within the blast zone.

The Germans take cover in the bocage.
Turn 4
‘Incoming!!’ ‘BOOM!’ Naturally the maximum roll for range on the artillery barrage was achieved and my three infantry units holding my right flank all received three pins.  This is the exact moment I knew the game was lost and victory was unattainable. This was confirmed as each of those units failed to act other than the Veteran squad who unleashed hell on the ground two meters in front of them hitting nothing. Nemesis J concentrated enough fire on that flank to ensure each unit received another pin (four in total) while moving an infantry squad forward to be within striking range of the objective by the end of the game. Without being able to activate those three squads I knew I could not stop him so I decided to salvage what I could and try and maintain control of the centre and left objectives.
I had two infantry squads out on the left and no German unit was within reach so they turned inwards pouring fire on German units moving towards the centre. The units holding the centre received focus fire from advancing German units and my mortar and ATR were swept aside leaving only my Medic and Lt holding firm. The Lt had given up on the armoured support by this stage having received another garbled message from the Stuart crew about some widget stuck in a doosit (3rd failed roll to come onto the table).

Oh how I hate you.

T urn 5
*Cue ride of the Valkyries music* The Stuart bursts through some trees and opens up on an advancing German squad with two MMG’s killing several but failing to remove them from the table. The Stuart commander calmly drinks his tea and salutes the Lt who in absolute shock at finally seeing the promised tank, forgets to put his head down and is subsequently wiped out.  The Germans clean up the remaining troops around the centre objective leaving only the Stuart to defend it (but can’t hold it as only infantry units can in this game). 

All the Australian squads on the right fail to pass moral tests and the squad holding the objective is destroyed by concentrated German fire while a German infantry squad swaggers past laughing and joking about how easy this is. The Australian squads on the left are valiantly trying to move and fire towards the German units at the centre objective and although they take a heavy toll just can’t stop the German numbers from getting closer. 

Finally the Stuart enters and using machine guns rips into a German infantry squad.

Turn 6
On the right the German squad makes it to the objective and stops for lunch while in the centre the German ATR team ducks around the Stuart and plants itself on the objective there. All units fail to activate again on the right while the squads on the left again put in fire towards the centre but they have no shot at the unit actually holding the objective and are too far away to contest it. The Stuart commander fires off a few more busts to prove he took part in the battle but also can’t dislodge the unit holding the objective and that’s the game. Germans hold two objectives and the Australians one giving the Germans victory. 

Too little too late, Stuart tries to hold the Germans back but just does not have enough shots.

Wrap Up
Nemesis J played a great game and did everything right with some very crucial dice rolls going in his favour. I, on the other hand, made some significant tactical errors and failed way too many rolls.  Especially in turn one and this allowed the German to start stacking pins on units that I really needed. To top it off the Stuart, which I was relying on to help out the middle objective did not come until turn 5 when the damage had already been done. Rapid Fire was very useful throughout the game however I feel ‘Up and at em’ would have potentially saved me the game as I could have activated those units pinned down on the right flank for an assault and stopped the German squad from getting closer. I really want to avoid that rule though as it is just that good and is commonly used so I really want to get Rapid Fire to work for me.

Another great game with Nemesis J and I tip my hat off to him on the win.

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